Three Ways to Get Real Customer Feedback as a Product Manager

Ben Staples
6 min readFeb 25, 2021

Originally published on www.Ben-Staples.com

A few weeks ago, someone reached out to me through the contact form on my website with a Product Management question (which I love by the way, please reach out if you have any questions, want recommendations, etc).

Alissa, an eCommerce Product Manager who is the very first Product Manager at her organization wrote:

“There isn’t much structure surrounding customer feedback right now. What has worked well for you in the past in re: to establishing new processes, customer feedback loops, etc. I don’t just want to rely on jotforms or survey monkeys. Are there any cool features/software out there that you’ve liked to obtain customer feedback? What is some advice you have for how I can approach this?”

I thought this was such an awesome question, I wanted to share my thoughts and see if others had ideas.

Direct customer feedback is the lifeblood of a Product Manager. If you don’t have an accurate sense of what the customer thinks or feels about your product or feature, how will you ever successfully reflect the voice of the customer in internal conversations?!

Literally anything you can do to get in front of the customer more frequently will be beneficial. There is no better way (besides direct leadership direction), to garner support for ideas or resourcing than clear and actionable data from the customer. Most importantly, this direct customer feedback fuels the creation of products that actually solve customer pain points.

Photo by Celpax on Unsplash

I would also add, providers like survey monkey, or google forms do have their place! They can be incredibly scrappy, inexpensive, and provide some great quantitative data. Survey tools can be incredibly important for the success of your user story discovery, and can be great to have in your toolbox. However Alissa brings up a good point, quite often things like these won’t give you the full picture.

Here are three tools I’ve used in my past that can help give you more rich data and content from your users:

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Ben Staples

Ben Staples has over 7 years of product management and PMM eCommerce experience from at Nordstrom, Trunk Club, and Vistaprint . Currently based in Chicago IL